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    TAP Completes Offshore Pipelay


The pipeline operator is looking forward to first gas to Italy flowing later this year.

by: Dalga Khatinoglu

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Premium, Corporate, TSO, EU, Albania, Greece, Italy

TAP Completes Offshore Pipelay

TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) operating company has completed the 105-km offshore section of the pipeline under the Adriatic sea, it said June 9.

The offshore phase, started in mid-January, includes the installation of 36-inch pipes by Castoro Sei, Saipem’s semi-submersible pipelaying vessel; the above-water-tie-in with the onshore infrastructure in Albanian waters; as well as hydrotesting the asset to ensure it is safe and ready for operations.

TAP project director John Haynes said the whole project is now more than 95% complete and the company looked forward to crossing the finish line by the end of this year.

The linepipe has been laid on the Adriatic seabed: 25 km in Italian territorial waters, 43 km in international waters and 37 km in Albanian territorial waters and at its deepest point it is under 810 metres of water.

The 878-km TAP plans to starting pumping gas to southern Europe in the autumn. Its phase 1 transport capacity is 10bn m3/yr of Azeri Shah Deniz stage 2 gas, but it is able to double its capacity to 20bn m3/yr, for which other gas suppliers will be able to bid.

It has pushed back the binding bidding phase of the market test for additional capacity from January next year to July, saying June 4 that market conditions were unfavourable and the operators of TAP and the grid operators at either end of the line, Snam in Italy and Desfa in Greece, wanted more time.

TAP's shareholders comprise BP, Azerbaijan's Socar and Italy's Snam, each with 20%, Belgium's Fluxys with 19%, Spain's Enagas with 16% and Swiss firm Axpo with 5%. Formerly EGL, Axpo has gas-fired power plants in Italy and was one of the founders of the project.